In search of happiness

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Where are you searching?

Once there was a king who searched the whole world to find a ‘Perfect Guru’ who could show him the way to happiness, but could not find one.

One day, along with his entourage of soldiers, carrying arms, and other paraphernalia, as he was passing by the river Ganges, the king happened to see an old man, resembling a rishi.  He was lying on the banks of the river, clad scantily with a loincloth, laughing merrily, with apparent happiness.  The old man had no possessions and yet seemed quite content with life.  The King, with all his possessions, had never been so happy and wanted to know the secret of the old man’s happiness.  The King got out of his chariot and approached the old man, who was lying on the floor.  The old man took no notice of the King or his entourage.  The King, however, did not take the old man ignoring his presence as an insult.

Instead, the King approached the elderly man with respect and asked him, “What makes  you so happy?  You have no possessions or a comfortable place to live in; yet, you seem to be contented and satisfied.  I have all the wealth and possessions and yet am unhappy.  I am ready to donate all my wealth and possessions to you, but want to know the secret of your happiness?”

The old man gently sat down and in a very modest tone replied, “You people are unhappy because you don’t live in the present.  When you were young, you got bored with the childhood and rushed to grow up, and when you’ve grown up, you people wonder how good it would be if you could become children once again.  You keep anxiously thinking about the future and forget the present and in the process you are able to love neither your present nor the future.  What amuses me about you all is that you lose health to accumulate wealth, and then are ready to lose that wealth to regain health, happiness and peace.”

Now the King asked, “Oh, revered sir, would you let me know who your guru is, so that I can also receive guidance on the secret to happiness.”  The old man turned to the King and said, “Oh, King, I’ve many gurus.  My gurus include this body, this earth, the birds, the animals, and the trees.  Everything in the world has taught me something.”

Seeing the King’s expression, the wise old man continued with a smile:

“From a flower I learn that it never blooms or spreads its fragrance any less because the other flower is more beautiful.  So never compare yourself with others.

From the trees I learn that even though people would axe them, they would give shade, wood, flowers and fruits.  They just give, give and give and hardly demand anything.  I realize that a rich person is not the one who has the most, but the one who needs the least.

From kids I learn that we cannot make others love them, what they do attracts others to love them.  We can’t expect others to love us.  Because of our actions others should love us.

A thin, small needle teaches me to join people and not to be a scissors as it takes only seconds to cause a profound wound, but years to heal.

From my dog I learnt forgiveness.  Once he came running to greet me and spilled food all over the floor.  I shouted; it got scared and ran and hid behind a tree.  After a couple of minutes, I felt bad about yelling at it and so called it.  It came running towards me joyfully, wagging its tail.  Everything was forgotten and forgiven.  At that moment, he became my teacher.  He taught me that to live peacefully I have to forgive myself and others also.

So Dear King, we have to understand that all types of people live in this world.  There are people who love dearly, but fail to express.  There are people who can look at the same thing and yet see things differently.  We have to learn to celebrate the differences.  Most importantly, if anything wrong or bad happens, keep a strong belief that God is always there with us.  But never lose your peace of mind.”

Saying this, the old man again lay down on the ground, gazing at the clouds happily and the King left satisfied with these words of wisdom.

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